Students protest in Hong Kong: Turbulent times ahead?

As students protest returned to the streets of Hong Kong, a region ravaged by months of pro-democracy protests and multiple waves of the coronavirus outbreak, the scenes of police brutality played on loops in most Hong Kong homes on Mother’s Day.

While the rest of the world is still fighting to keep the pandemic infection levels under control and lessening its impact on the economy by announcing trillions of dollars worth economic bailouts, Hong Kong is back to its ‘new normal‘ as students protest grabbed the headlines yet again this Sunday.

The region, still reeling in the aftermath of the deadly virus outbreak, took a breather when it essentially managed to flatten the infection curve. Thus, the police force was unprepared, and so was their response to the violent students protest that took place on May 8th. 

Students protest in Hong Kong return after COVID-19 slows down

In their frantic and last-minute attempts to prevent the crowd from gathering, the police arrested 230 demonstrators, one of the largest figures in months. Soon after, the local media groups condemned the police force’s response in handling the reporters who were covering the large-scale protests.

The region’s police commissioner, Chris Tang Ping-Keung, was severely criticized by the members of Yuen Long District Council on Tuesday, where one of the Democratic Party councilors compared the manhandling of demonstrators to launching a terrorist attack as accusations of police misconduct filled the room.

Although Tang then admitted to poor handling of the media reporters and offered to meet the local media representatives next week and discuss ways to achieve the middle ground, with a possible solution of accrediting press reporters and reviewing their current tactics, the situation begs the question whether Hong Kongers are prepared to tackle yet another storm? Will this city never experience the calm after the storm?

What’s more upsetting is the fact that two protesters among those arrested on Sunday were aged 12 and 16, which begs yet another question if a 12-year-old is matured and capable enough to understand the severity of the situation? Is it acceptable for the media and the parents to allow underage reporters to be present at the students protest where violence may escalate any minute?

With students dominating over 41 percent of Hong Kong’s protest scenes, there is no doubt that cooperation could have turned the matter to good use, and every parent has a role when it comes to educating his child. 

Hong Kong’s fight continues. Where does it end?

For most of Hong Kong’s youth, the political awakening of Hong Kong means dreams colliding with despair. Months of angry students protest and vandalism has made many young Hong Kongers ponder over their future in the city and whether or not they will be able to complete their education and get jobs. 

A recently-conducted survey shows that around 40 percent of Hong Kong’s youth is facing protest-related emotional stress. While some are experiencing nightmares, others are finding it hard to concentrate on their studies, not knowing what the future holds for them in a city now ravaged by uncertainties

Although Hong Kong was once known for its renowned business schools and a fairly international outlook, the stress of being on the front line has taken a severe toll on many young lives as increasing numbers of students are dropping out of college and abandoning Hong Kong to seek better opportunities elsewhere. Others have resorted to remote learning methods – a setting that has gained traction amid COVID-19 lockdowns.

While no one can predict how the students protest in Hong Kong will play out in the future, we must all, whether affected or not, be prepared for all eventualities. Hong Kong protestors, although willing to gamble away their future if it means preserving their homes, must eventually ask themselves one question – is this really the final battle? 

Blockchain can help Hong Kong’s youth

Overcoming personal fear for the benefit of the greater good is heroic, but there’s another path to achieving the same. It is time for the youth to channel their passion and idealism to productive ends that involve real-stake in Hong Kong’s governance. 

For that to happen, they need to focus on education now more than ever as the city’s economic landscape has never seen a slowdown of this magnitude. With some financial aid, mentoring, and vigorous training, parents can match their young people’s proficiencies with projects that open up meaningful opportunities for them in the future.

As Mitch Rankin, a prominent social media influencer, co-founder of English Forward News and a firm believer in the power of blockchain in revamping the education system, says that unless access costs lessen and the quality of accessibility is improved globally, many will be left behind in the race.

Thus, for the youth involved in students protest in Hong Kong, blockchain education can prove not only to be cost-effective and transparent but also bring about self-reliance, which is critical to their growth and inclusion, amidst turbulent times. Blockchain is a trustworthy system that cannot be manipulated. But it must get into the right hands by mass adoption.